Do you have questions about graduate student policies? Find policies governing graduate degrees in the Graduate Catalog.

Periodically, the Grad Council releases updates to graduate policy. You can find new policy announcements on our policy updates page.

Answers to common policy questions

Can my student take a leave of absence?

On-leave status is available to students who need to suspend their program of study for good cause. Students who desire a leave of absence will work with their major professor, program administrator, and the Graduate School to arrange authorized leave. Regular Leave of Absence is granted for a specified time period that may not exceed three terms, excluding summer session. Read the full leave policy.

Approved leave of absence includes, but is not limited to, Family and Medical Leave, as defined by the Graduate School's Family and Medical Leave Policy for Graduate Students.

Leaves of absence are due two weeks prior to the start of the term the leave is desired.

My student is taking too long to finish their degree

All work toward a master’s degree, including transferred credits, course work, thesis (if required), and all examinations, must be completed within seven years. Time in which the student is on a leave of absence is included in the seven-year limit. Extensions of this time limit may be requested by submitting a petition to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School. The petition should include a detailed plan for completion.

Effective beginning with students matriculating fall term 2016, all work toward a doctoral degree, including course work, thesis (if required), and all examinations, must be completed within nine years of the indicated start term on the Departmental Action Form. Extensions of this time limit may be requested by submitting a petition to the Graduate School. This petition should include a detailed plan for completion.

My student is not making satisfactory progress

Each graduate program has metrics and a process for assessing each student’s satisfactory progress. If your student is not making satisfactory progress, as identified by the metrics set by the program and Graduate School, this must be communicated to the student and a plan for remediating the situation should be developed. If you need assistance in developing this plan, please work with your program director or unit head. If needed, please seek advice from the Associate Dean of the Graduate School.

I don’t have any funding, but want to admit a new student

The Graduate Schools is the administrative unit for many funding mechanisms. Please review these offerings and work with your unit head to discuss more localized solutions.

My student is going to defend after the spring deadlines, how should I advise them?

The academic deadlines page has information regarding degree completion timelines. If you have questions after reviewing the pages, please reach out to the Academic Support Staff in your program area.

How do I list placeholder courses on a Program of Study?

Please list an actual course as a placeholder. We do not accept putting in things like “Placeholder: TBD” in the course list. Students can change the placeholder in the future using the Petition for Change in Program form.

How do I handle exam paperwork if changes to a thesis or dissertation are required following the final exam?

If the committee is satisfied with the thesis/dissertation, but minor corrections are required (e.g., typographical errors, small additions or corrections, minor reorganization), a pass vote is appropriate and all committee members should sign the examination report. In this situation, the major professor should withhold signing the dissertation until these corrections are made. If major corrections to the dissertation are required (e.g., rewriting large sections, collection and addition of supplemental information, re-evaluation or reinterpretation of results, major reorganization), a no-pass vote is appropriate.